UM Writing Competition

UM Writing Competition

2023-2024 Theme: A Celebration of Story

Student Submissions Due: January 31, 2025

Awards Ceremony: March 6, 2025

Grades: 7th – 12th

Student Submissions

The University of Mississippi Writing Competition is an annual teachers’ workshop and mail-in competition for the state of Mississippi and neighboring schools in the Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee areas.

The Writing Competition consists of multiple writing categories, all revolving around a central theme. The categories offered include:

  • Essay (narrative or expository)
  • Poetry
  • Short Story

All projects listed above must adhere to the Writing Competition theme listed at the top of the page.

Sponsor: UM Writing Project, Office of Pre-College Programs, Division of Outreach and Continuing Education

Competition Type: Online/Mail-In Submission

Entries will be judged on literary merit and usage/grammar appropriate to grade level. The work is not to be taken from or based upon any writing by any author famous or unknown, student or adult - or from any published or unpublished source such as a book, magazine, literary anthology, or the like. Judges will be teacher consultants from the University of Mississippi Writing Project.

Submissions will be judged for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in each writing category. Winning submissions will receive scholarship awards to summer programs, sponsored by the Office of Pre-College Programs, and will be published in the Office of Pre-College Programs’ Celebrations literary magazine. Honorary submissions may also be published in the literary magazine.

Competition Rules

  • The competition is open to students currently enrolled in grades 7th-12th.
  • Entries should consist of original pieces of writing:
    • Poetry
    • Short Stories
    • Essays
  • Acceptable format of entries:
    • Typed using Microsoft Word or another word processor
    • Double-spaced on one side of paper only. No double-sided printing.
    • 12-point font, Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman
  • Maximum word limit:
    • 1,500 words for 7th-8th grades
    • 3,000 words for 9th-12th grades
  • All entries may be uploaded to our secure portal after registration. The registration form links to the secure portal.
    • NO NAME should appear on the entry itself. Entries with names will be disqualified.
    • Titles are required on the entry. Titles should be punctuated correctly. No underlining or quotation marks of titles on original work.
    • Entries should be labeled as directed by the upload portal. Appropriate format for your file name is: Last Name_First Name_Grade_Genre. Ex: Landshark_Tony_10_Poetry.

Celebrations is an annual literary magazine featuring the first, second, and third place winners from the Celebration Writing Competition. You’ll find a mix of essays, poems, and short stories from middle and high school students, along with original student artwork.

Current Issue

Please enjoy these previous publications of Celebrations.

2023 Issue
2022 Issue
2021 Issue

For additional information, please contact:

  • Address: Outreach and Continuing Education, Office of Pre-College Programs, The University of Mississippi, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677-1848
  • Phone: (662) 915-7621
  • Fax: (662) 915-1535
  • Email: